The importance of identifying priorities: How to live a life with purpose


3 fundamental steps to living life in tune with your priorities.

‘You pass this way but once. There’s no such thing as normal. There’s you and there’s the rest. There’s now and there’s forever. Do as you damn well please or you could end up being a pot-bellied, hairless boring fart.’

Billy Connolly said that many years ago it has the ring of truth.

Life is so busy that we scramble through our days trying to get our work done and tick all those jobs off our list. We don’t have time – or we don’t make time – to ask ourselves if we’re happy or fulfilled.

Do you ever wake up in the morning and wonder what you’re doing with your life? Is there a sense that something is out of place? Something isn’t quite right?

I’ve been hearing this more and more from my clients and, to be honest, it makes me rejoice. Why? Because finally these people are getting off the hamster wheel and reassessing why they are doing what they do. It’s the first step to working out what matters to them.

What matters to you?

What are your priorities in life? Your family? Security? Health, money, freedom, your morals and values?

If you can’t answer that question, make some time to reflect on your life and to dream about your ideal future.

Ask yourself:

  • What’s most important to me?
  • What do I want out of life?
  • What makes me happy?
  • What do I want more of?
  • What do I want less of?

3 steps to working with your priorities.

Until you know your priorities, you can’t design a fulfilling life. Once you have identified your priorities, it’s time to live in tune with them.

  1. Use your priorities to guide your choices.

Will that task bring you closer to what matters? Does it sit well with your values? Are you making decisions based on what others expect of you or what you really want? Make decisions based on your priorities. For example, say no to the promotion which requires longer hours if your priority is time with the family. When you weigh your choices and actions against your priorities, you can trust that your decisions will bring your closer to your ideal life. As Billy Connolly said, do as you damn well please because in the long run, the only person you need to answer to is yourself.

  1. Be present.

It’s not until you live in the moment that you properly experience it. Become aware of your thoughts and feelings in that moment, and what your mind and body is telling you. What sensations are you experiencing? When you are truly present in the moment, you tap into those powerful internal information sources that tell you if you’ve made the right choice. Practice mindfulness and it will become easier and easier to tune in.

  1. Let go.

Part of living in tune with your priorities means letting go of the things that detract from them. This can be uncomfortable so be prepared for the feelings it will bring up. You’re letting go of things that filled up your time and, in some ways, they have been a security blanket. There’s a comfort in familiarity but the true power lies in change. Be prepared for the feeling of guilt that might fall over you when you say no to a job or an invitation. Just keep your eyes on your priorities and suddenly everything makes sense.

Everyone is different and will prioritise their needs and desires in different ways. Find the one that works for you. When you live aligned with your priorities, you have more passion, more energy, more power and more enthusiasm for life.

And you won’t end up as a pot-bellied, hairless boring fart!

If you’re not confident that you can honestly identify your priorities or live by them, you may benefit from leadership coaching and training where we dig deep into what drives you.

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Caroline Kennedy, author of Lead Beyond 2030: The Nine Skills You Need to Intensify Your Leadership Impact, is an accomplished former CEO, Award-Winning Executive Coach and global thought leader on business and leadership. She is a highly sought-after mentor and coach to top global executives. A respected keynote speaker and author, Caroline’s methods are neuroscience-based to achieve rapid development and growth.


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